Seeking Sanctuary

Harper Hall - Courtyard
Approaching Harper Hall along the River Road, it is a fortress nestled up against the tall, imposing Fortian cliffs. With Fort Hold and Healer Hall very close by, the three are always visible until passing beneath the arch which leads into the main courtyard. Wide and long, the stone courtyard boasts many doors leading out to the four wings of the Hall, while straight ahead large doors lead visitors into the entrance foyer.
The Hall itself and its wings are raised from the level of the courtyard, and stone steps lead up three or four to get to the doors that line the courtyard on all four sides, all facing within. To the right of the main door into the Hall is the Great Hall, its windows nearly three man-heights high, and flanked by the jointed metal shutters that all the windows still maintain, despite the absence of Thread. High, high above on those cliffs, the drumheights rest on an outcrop of stone, a wide ledge from which the Hall can send messages across Pern. For the daring (or those wanting the exercise), the flight of stairs rises from the right side of the courtyard.
It is a busy place, at all times of the day and night, kept meticulously cleaned by attentive drudges and apprentices, and it's not uncommon to hear music drifting from one of the many classrooms, or the sounds of wood, metal, leather and string being crafted into the instruments of Pern.


Once again, Dtirae is shaken up. The gold is settled in the courtyard, waiting while her rider presses her face into the golden hide. There's clearly no embarrassment for their situation, or appearance, as they likely draw a considerable about of stares and gaping looks. Raven locks are in a mess, from the hasty removal of a riding helmet that is now tucked away into one of the bags on the straps of her lifemate.

Out of the doors comes one lone Harper who hasn't stopped to stare at the gold or her rider. Rayathess got Dtirae's message and rushed out as quickly as he could. What surprises him is to find her waiting and in obvious distress. "Weyrwoman!" he calls, keeping to strictly formal appearances due to all the eyes on them. "Is everything alright?"

Dtirae pushes away from her lifemate at the call, looking to Rayathess with grey eyes looking lost. "Yes." Then, she frowns and shakes her head. "No. I…" There are eyes on them and she is suddenly aware of them all. "Do you mind if we speak of this in a setting that is a little more private?" Away from the stares, from those who would pry.

Unfortunately the news will spread fast but Rayathess will make sure that Dtirae is out of prying eyes and view by then. He nods and holds up a hand for her in preparation before she dismounts. "I can see that a room is arranged. Zuvaleyuth may find the ledges by the drum heights comfortable."

News always spreads quickly, unfortunately. Not much one can do about that, especially surrounded by Harpers. Grey eyes search his face as he holds up a hand for her. There's a stubbornness there, that dies quickly and she relents to taking in his assistance. At least she doesn't fall. "Thank you." The hand is taken as she dismounts, grasping it tightly for a moment before she releases him. Zuvaleyuth waits until her rider is safely dismounted before she rumbles a thanks, and takes off into the sky, to find the ledges offered. "If you would be so kind?" She asks, softly, hoping to be out of sight. Soon.


Harper Hall - Archroom
Bridging the Journeyman wing and the Apprentice wing, the archroom is exactly as the name suggests. It is a spacious room situated over the archway tunnel that leads from the road way to the Hall's inner courtyard. Accessed from the hall or from a small narrow staircase leading to the tunnel entranceway below, the archroom has been furnished with tables and chairs and provides a cozy and rustic atmosphere for social gatherings, private meetings or practice sessions or private lessons. The archroom also serves as a room for Masters to bring errant Journeymen or Apprentices in for a stern and private lecturing without having to use the more publicly accessible offices on the ground levels. It can also be used for interviews of potential Apprentices.
With no windows carved into this room, it often feels disconnected from the others but for some that sort of peace is a welcomed thing. Plenty of glows allow the room to be lit comfortably and a small stone hearth allows for warmth in the colder months. No decorations hang on the walls, but there are plenty of shelves holding various scrolls and hides and a few racks and stands for instruments or sheet music are readily available.


Rayathess takes Dtirae's hand in a firm grip, behaving no differently than if he was simply politely escorting the weyrwoman through the Hall. "Of course. Follow me," he murmurs and promptly leads her towards the tunnel entrance and into a nondescript door. Inside is a stairwell and it's up these stairs that he takes her and into a narrow hall. Pausing by a wooden door this time, he knocks and when no voice answers, he breathes a sigh of relief and shoulders it open. "In here," he whispers and once she's inside, he'll close it and plunge them all into darkness. Swearing, he can be heard fumbling until his hand smacks painfully into the glow basket on the wall causing him to grunt before sliding the shutter open. "Sorry. Go on, sit!" He'll lock the door and walk about, opening more glow baskets to flood the room with light.

The grip on her hand seems to ground her for that moment that he leads her. She does not look to meet the eyes of others, keeping a straight face and her chin up as if she were not distressed. Once they're away from so many eyes, she's lowering her gaze and not entirely taking in their path. She steps inside, when he indicates the room. There's no hesitation. When they're swallowed in darkness, she leans over and allows herself a moment of being completely off guard. When the glows light, she is again, upright. "Thank you." She finds a seat, settling into the comfortable chair and shrinking into it. Grey eyes close, and she draws in a breath. "Thank you, Raya. I mean it…"

"You're welcome," Rayathess murmurs and glances towards the door. "Don't know how long we'll have here but if we have to, there's my room in the Journeyman's Wing. Just… didn't want them to see me leading you there first. This is better, more official and proper. Only means the Masterharper can find you." If she's not already busy! Rayathess takes the chair next to hers and had he more time to prepare he would have at least brought water up. "… what's happened?" he presses gently.

"That's fine. It's… Better not to go to your room first. We can act as if you had forgotten something there and… I hadn't wanted to take up the Hall's room." She doesn't comment on the Masterharper. She draws her legs in, tilts her head down and sighs. "We exiled… Banished… A goldrider. She attacked me. Accused me of wrongdoings. Then, she rebelled against Nyalle and threatened her. She… Her gold challenged the Senior's. Shells, they could have fought and died. And she doesn't care. She did the same with Zuvaleyuth and Zuvaleyuth wanted to fight her, though it isn't her fight anymore. It was hard to pull her back. To take in that anger and to keep her calm." The goldrider rambles, only pausng for a breath. "I haven't felt so angry. So… So… I wanted to beat her. I only slapped her once because of how foolish she was. I thought she'd learn a lesson. I thought she'd improve after I left, start trying to prove that she wanted to be a part of the Weyr and not be shunned as she is. But she was only worse. And I feel like it's my fault." She's drawing in closer to herself, trying to shrink away. "I'm so shardin' fragile. He was right. He was right that I'm fragile and I only see how broken I am whenever I'm faced with these situations. I'll never stop being fragile." Sorry, Rayathess! But, she at least seems done with the long explanation.

Rayathess doesn't put much more thought of where they'll go if this room proves to be insufficient. He does, however, listen with rapt attention as Dtirae explains and he doesn't even seem to mind how long it is. His eyes widen, mouth dropping open slightly as he struggles to absorb all the news. "Jajenelja was that… that FOOLISH? How — what would drive her to such brazen rebellion and at the risk of her queens but Kayeth too AND Zuvaleyuth?" He's baffled, stunned even. He knows of Jajen's past, the scandal behind her Impression as the Weyrleaders felt it necessary that he knows before he recognized the young goldrider. Not that he would easily. Jajen's changed a lot from the camps and he likely only saw her briefly before Laris used her and a handful of others as decoys. "Dtirae, you're not weak!" Rayathess chides and stands from his chair to awkwardly perch on the edge of hers. His hand grips her shoulder firmly if she doesn't withdraw or shrug him away. "You and the whole Weyr just suffered a great shock! It's not everyday this happens. Golds… reduced to fighting and not from flights! It's enough to unsettle anyone."

"She was. I never know what drives her. I've tried to understand her. Tried to offer her opportunities. Demoted her. Struck her… Part of me hates her, though. For the risk she put to Zuvaleyuth by not warning us she was going to rise. Zuvaleyuth almost rose herself, almost…" Attacked her. Died. So many possibilities. "Every gold was involved, Raya. Every. Single. Gold. In the Weyr. She didn't even rise…" Not a true flight, at least. Fingers curl into her hair, and her form tenses for a brief moment as his hand grips her shoulder. She doesn't push him away. Grey eyes lift, considering him quietly. "I… Yes. It's a great shock. But, I shouldn't fall apart, should I? Shake like I do. Feel like I am going to try. Regret not striking her, but knowing that violence wouldn't have solved it… Nor would it have done me any well in the eyes of my Senior. To feel so much rage… And sorrow." There are tears, this time. "I was so afraid… So fragile."

Rayathess's hand tightens for a moment on her shoulder and then relaxes as if to draw away. It hesitates though, hovering just on the threshold and then he's resting his hand flat against her back. Moving slow, partly half out of his own reservations and half because he isn't sure how she'll react, he rubs his hand along her back, between her shoulders. Comforting her while he listens with growing unease and disquiet. He shakes his head and sighs, giving her a firm look. "If what you're telling me is true and Jajen had every gold against her Iaverulth? I can't even begin to imagine the effect that would have on the Weyr. We're told of the strength of the queens… It must have been chaos. As for Jajen I have no answer for you. I've heard of her and know of her but never met the girl." And he's glad of that! "Clearly she's chosen her path and fate and if that's the case there's little you could do. You're under stress, you just went through a highly charged and emotional moment. Anger is expected and so is… fear." He would know. His life experiences have been far from sunshine and rainbows. "No, violence doesn't solve everything." he mutters and then grimaces. "Though this Jajen certainly sounds like she deserved a good slap." Or three.

Dtirae doesn't protest the contact, at least, she does look as if she's starting to grow less tense as he rubs his hand along her back. "It was. Kayeth demanded they choose sides. The entire Weyr. I… Can't imagine how the rest of the Weyr felt." The non-riders, not so used to blocking the emotions of their lifemates, when needed. "You're lucky. I'm sure she would have flirted with you." A hand lifts to brush at her eyes, tilting her gaze away from him for a moment. "I don't like being so angry. Or so afraid…" She leans into him, quietly and sighing. "She does. But, Nyalle didn't want me to hit her. Or anyone. She's gone now.. Maybe she'll learn."

Rayathess snorts, "I'd have like to seen her try." he mutters in regards to Jajen and then sighs as well. "There's no shame in feeling that way, Dtirae. We all cope with stress differently. That you were able to refrain from attacking Jajen as she did to you or no matter how she deserved it shows you've better restraint then most. Behavior like that would've been an instant death sentence in any holdless band. Even among them, they know better than to mess with anyone holding authority or 'rank' no matter how crude in sense it may be." When she leans, his hand ceases rubbing her back but only so he can gently wrap his arm about her shoulders. "Maybe she will? Maybe she won't. It's up to her now…" Whatever else he was about to say is cut off. The room suddenly seems to thrum and vibrate and Rayathess lifts his head as if listening and able to discern something from the rhythm and pattern. It takes a moment perhaps to pinpoint but there's only one thing that could cause such reverberations. "Drum message." Rayathess confirms and his expression looks grim. "Looks like your Weyrharper has sent the news. It's being relayed now to Fort Hold's drum tower and outwards." Oh joy.

"She was probably awful at it." Dtirae mutters back, a slight smile forming for a fleeting moment. "I've been told my way of dealing with stress isn't the most productive… Or that safe. Bottling it up, usually." Perhaps a reason why she's sought her Harper friend. "Well, I'm glad we're not a holdless band… She'd've…" The shaking is back as she draws a breath. As his arm wraps around her, she's pressing in closer. "She's had so many chances. I was hopeful…" Comes out as a soft whisper. As the room thrums and vibrates, the goldrider tenses up stiffer than ever. "Oh. Still bad at discerning drums." And she had lessons. As he passes on the message, a hand lifts to grip his shirt, tightly. "Zuvaleyuth says she will go elsewhere… I don't want to be found. Is…. That okay? I just can't… I don't want to go back to Fort right now."

Rayathess grimaces again, "No, handling stress like that is a sure-fire way of having it rear up in ugly ways." he mutters and from his tone it sounds as though he speaks from experience. "You can only help someone so much. They have to want to change too and if they don't well… There's not much you CAN do." Again, he sounds like he knows from experience and sounds almost saddened by this. How much has he gone through, given how young he is? Too much. It's a wonder he's not further damaged and yet here he is. "It's alright. Some of it was coded." So he would have been extremely surprised if Dtirae had known the message. He grunts faintly in surprise when she clutches at his tunic but he does not pull away. "Zuvaleyuth… You two can part ways like that?" he asks, fascinated by this discovery only to sober and look grim. "Why would you have to go back? You're safe here in the Hall. I doubt they'd turn you out… I don't even think they've realized you're up here yet." Yet.

"Mm. So I've been told. And experienced." Dtirae doesn't pull away to look him in the face, to see his expressions. "I know… I've never changed because someone told me to. Or suggested it. I imagine she never really wanted to try. Or… It doesn't matter." He has gone through so much. Likely, more than the woman can even imagine. Far more than she has, perhaps. "Oh. That'd make sense." Coded messages. Harpers definitely would have those. "Of course we can part ways… I've traveled on others' dragons, away from her when needed. She says she's just going to hunt and lounge until I feel ready to go." She pulls back and looks at him, curious. "I… Well." Grey eyes lower, and slowly she releases his shirt. "I don't have to go back. I don't think they'd turn me out. But… I'm sure someone will come to ask questions if they realized. I just…" She doesn't finish her thought, sighing softly and ducking her head, hiding her face beneath the curtain of her black hair.

Rayathess could go on and on all day about how some people just cannot see past their own flaws and that she shouldn't pull her hair out over those who are unwilling to accept help and change. Only he holds his tongue and as the last of the drums die away, he allows the silence to fill the room for a moment before speaking again. "I didn't know… sorry." Ignorance. He's full of it, when it comes to riders! He tucks that tidbit of information away, however and focuses instead on the curious look he receives. He is puzzled and more so when she ducks her head. "Hey," he says softly as his hand clasps her shoulder again. "It'll be alright. It's not like they'll grill you…" With questions. Rayathess doesn't even finish that sentence. Who is he kidding? Of course they will! Suddenly he's standing, offering her his hand. "Come with me. Hurry — we won't have much time." If the time is even in their favour now!

"It's okay. I doubt it's one of those topics people really talk about. How far dragons and riders can go. I haven't ever tested being really far from her, if that's any consolation." Dtirae offers softly. She's not mad about that! Not at all. In another situation? She'd probably be poking fun at him, and smiling. The hand on her shoulder has her peeking up at him, again, brows furrowing slightly as he starts that sentence… And doesn't finish. She knows better! And then he's up again. "Okay." There's no hesitation as she takes his hand, fingers curling to grasp tightly.

Rayathess will have to pry more from her concerning that limitation in being separated from her dragon at another time. Right now he is focused on taking her hand, gripping it firmly and concentrating on what he's about to do. Striding towards the door, he extinguishes the glows as he passes and quietly unlocks the door before cracking it open. Just enough so that he can peek into the hallway. All clear? "Follow me," he whispers low and nudges the door open enough for them to slip through. Without hesitating, he hurries down the narrow hall and it's obvious they're passing through the Master's Wing. Door upon door they pass and there's the sound of muffled music below and voices from within those rooms and outside. The Hall is always buzzing and alive but it seems everyone is occupied with their daily business. No one crosses paths with them but Rayathess does not slow his pace. Not even when they round a corner and climb two steps up to the slightly elevated hallway that is the corridor for all Journeymen's room. It's not far from here that he pauses in front of a door, hastily unlocking it with a key he pulls from his pocket and once the door is open, he gestures hastily. "Inside. Quick! Before someone sees…" Because this isn't scandalous at all! Nope.

Dtirae will happily answer his questions, at some point, if he asks. But, she remains silent as they pass the glows and he extinguishes the light. She ducks her head, slightly, hair covering her face. "Okay." Her hand tightens on his, so that she doesn't lose him as they slip out the door. Once they're in the hall, she makes sure to keep her hair covering her face. If they were to pass someone, she likely won't see them as she's trying to keep as her face hidden, to hide the fear, sorrow, and all the other emotions hidden from strangers. Once they come to a stop, she's looking up. And once it opens, she slips in without any hesitation. Because as much as he doesn't want to be seen by others, she doesn't want to be seen at all. Once in, she moves away from the door so he can enter quickly, without bumping into her. Because that would ruin all of his careful sneaking, as they would be sure to cause some sort of commotion.

Rayathess is worried more that someone will recognize Dtirae as a weyrwoman of Fort and seek to plague her with questions (and later question HIM why he's leading her through the personal quarters and not seeing her to the Great Hall). Once she's inside his room, he will slip inside and quietly close the door and lock it. Only then does he exhale with relief, shoulders sagging. Success! "There. No one will think to look here for you and if Zuvaleyuth is gone… it's likely you're safe. Though," he grimaces and turns to face her. "It kind of means you're… stuck here." Until she wants to leave. Stepping forwards, Rayathess gestures for her to make herself comfortable. He's going to hastily try and tidy his room which is… too say the least, comfortably lived in. Hey, he's a bachelor male! It's no stye but it's not neat either. His work is scattered everywhere and the few shelves and surfaces are cluttered with scrolls or random (or so they seem) items. At least the chairs by the tiny hearth are clear?

Once he's in, she's relaxing again. Dtirae gives him a teasing little smile. "Thank you. I don't mind being stuck, if you don't mind me invading your space for a little. I'm sure I can sneak out of the Hall to meet her, when the time comes." To leave. At the gesture, she's peeking around his room, smiling a little wider and a little easier. It's last minute, so, one can't expect the room to be perfectly clean. She does, however, spot the chairs and makes her way over there. She draws her legs in again, wrapping her arms around her knees before she rests her head. "I really appreciate this, Raya. I mean it. I owe you so much. A guitar… And a favor. Whatever you want. For putting me up like this… And keeping me… Safe." She's a good guest, and doesn't snoop and peek any further, grey eyes close and she sags slightly. "I'm so sorry I constantly show you the broken side of me… Always falling apart around you."

Rayathess shrugs his shoulders, "Not much of a space really. Haven't had it long enough to truly settle in and I don't plan to stay posted in the Hall." He admits with a crooked half-smile. "I know a short-cut to get you down to her discreetly. Though you could just say you've urgent business and no one would stop you…" But they'd know she had stayed within the Hall. Oh, the complexities of politics! Satisfied that this part of the room is at least presentable, Rayathess will flop down into the chair opposite of Dtirae's. "You owe me nothing," he begins to say, stalling her and then grinning faintly. "Except for the guitar. I'm holding you to that one. Everything else? Don't worry about it."

"You should see my weyr." Dtirae offers softly, chuckling. "You did mention you wanted to be posted elsewhere." She continues to sag into the chair, looking less rigid and tense the more time passes. "A short-cut sounds a lot more fun than saying urgent business." And then there's the politics of it all. Best to remain as stealthy as possible! As he settles in the chair opposite of her, she lifts her head to meet his gaze. She does begin to protest that she owes him nothing, until he adds in the guitar. She smiles before hiding it behind her knees. "Are you sure? Just the guitar? And, speaking of which… Send me a letter when you want to get one and I'll clear my schedule."

Rayathess chuckles dryly, "They say a cluttered or well lived space is the sign of a healthy mind." He counters gently and then nods his head. "Yeah, I plan to take the northern routes as my posting. Home in Stonehaven if they'll allow me. If not… the closest minor Hold. No one would know the back-water cotholds better than I and while I doubt none could afford a Harper, they deserve some news and checking in on," he murmurs. "I'm sure, Dtirae. Really. It's alright! And I will. Though there's the workshop here in the Hall…" If only it were so simple!

Dtirae laughs, fully this time. "Mine is practically empty. Aside from my hunted pelts and furs. What does that mean?" Her smile lingers from the laugh, grey eyes watching him in interest. "That'd be nice. Being home again. If you're able to spent time at all the cotholds, too. I think that'd be an excellent thing. I mean, the Weyr visits them but there's only so much we can relay. If they have a sort of… Official unofficial Harper? They'd certainly do better." And, maybe be more informed should something start to go amiss… Unlike with Stonehaven. But, she doesn't say that. "If you're certain. But, I'll say I owe you a favor, then. Whenever you need it." At the mention of the workshop, brows lift in question. "I'm guessing there's a 'but' with the workshop? Like… It has to be commissioned and we're stuck waiting for months. Or, you have to make it yourself — Do you know how to make one? Or, there's a waiting list."

"That you're a busy woman who likes to hunt?" Rayathess replies sarcastically, giving her a sidelong look and crooked smirk. Nice try! He shakes his head and then nods, "Sort've the concept and not the first time it's been done. A roaming Harper is nothing new and I'm not adverse to travelling." he admits. "Got a good runner for it so…" Why not? Now he just has to convince the Masters he's capable of the job! His brows furrow slightly, "Why would you still owe me a favour? Don't friends… do this?" He waves a hand to indicate the room. "You could say that? Yeah, it has to be commissioned. No, I can't make it myself. Never really learned and don't care to. What it would do is bring forth a lot of awkward questions."

Dtirae laughs again, grinning now and no longer hiding it. "Good point." Her chin comes to rest on her knees and she considers quietly. "I didn't really think that was a thing. I don't know much about Harpers, either. I think you should do it. I'll recommend you, if you need an extra word." She is, entirely, bias. But, if it helps him accomplish his goal? At his question, and the gesture to the room, the woman sits up a little straighter and gives him a look. It takes a moment before she's smiling again. "You're right. We're friends." The favor is dismissed with that. "Shells. I don't blame you for not learning… That would be hard. So, let's not use the workshop because I don't really think we want to explain that I swooped you up during a goldflight and ruined your guitar." Grin.

Rayathess smiles and it's a touch mischievous. "You probably shouldn't go sharing that either. I may have said a bit too much there. Us Harpers are supposed to have our secrets." he muses and whether he's being truthful or not he doe not said. When she sits up, he tenses briefly, half expecting that something has gone wrong or is amiss again but when she smiles he relaxes. "I'd hope so?" he muses on the matter of being friends or not. Later, he'll realize he actually SAID it without hesitation and then have a moment of shock. He's got a friend? A ranked friend! Is that… even possible? "Heh, yeah. Less awkward questions I have to answer, the better."

Dtirae presses a finger to her lips, as if to shush him, for a brief moment. "I won't tell anyone. Can't let it get out that I know Harper Secrets." She grins a touch wider, easily playing along, if he's not being truthful. If he is? The secret is safe. Too bad she'll miss out on that shock. Maybe for the best. She'd tease him. "Agreed. You don't need awkward questions. Do you think they'd have guitars in Ierne? They've got a market place with a lot of crafters selling their goods. I've bought many of my knives there." It's a strong possibility.

"Fair enough and I trust you won't say anything," Rayathess says confidently, only to grin as she "shushes" him. "Besides, I learned a secret from you. Didn't know riders could separate from their dragons…" Uh oh. There's a hint of intrigue in his voice. He probably wants to know more or discover more but doesn't dare broach the subject. It's not his place! Just as he doesn't expect her to pry at him. "Ierne may be worth a try? I doubt Harper Hall is the only instrument making shop in all of Pern! I'd hate to think of the cost to travel all the way here in hopes of getting a guitar!"

"I won't. And, you did learn something… You can ask more about it, sometime, if you want to know more." Dtirae offers. She hears that intrigue, but doesn't give an answer now. Maybe later. The offer is there. "Then, that's where we'll try when we go." She tilts her head down again, resting her forehead on her knees before she heaves a heavy sigh. She doesn't say anything further. Drained from the highs and lows of of her day, she falls asleep in that awkward position of hers.

Rayathess is tempted, so very tempted but he holds his tongue for today. Another time, perhaps, if he ever has the chance! "Alright then, to Ierne it is. Don't think I've ever been that far south… not in that direction." He's avoided going south ever since returning to the north so many Turns ago. Silence is something he does not find strange and it will take him awhile to realize that Dtirae has actually fallen asleep. Surprised, he debates waking her and decides not to in the end. He may try to gently coax her into a more comfortable position and will certainly snatch a spare pillow or two and a thin blanket and then leave her to rest. Where does he go? To his desk. Not that his mind is focused at all on his work but it serves as distraction all the same and when she wakes, he will brush off her apologies and when it comes time for her to return to Zuvaleyuth, he will lead her out again and sneak her down that same stairwell and out.


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